Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

How charter-heavy is Buffalo, compared to other cities?

Sometimes it seems like we hear an awful lot about all those charter schools in New York City.

Remember those scenes from "Waiting for Superman"? Recall all the media references to Geoffrey Canada and Eva Moskowitz? The Big Apple must be overflowing with charter schools, right?

Well, not exactly.

Charter schoolNew York City's charter schools serve 38,743 students -- more than all the students in the Buffalo Public Schools.

That may seem like a lot, but put that in context. New York City also enrolls 973,210 students in its traditional public schools. That means 4 percent of the kids there are enrolled in charter schools, according to a report issued this week by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Compare that to Buffalo, where 18 percent of kids are enrolled in charter schools. That's right -- if you do a fair comparison, more than four times as many students enroll in charter schools in Buffalo, compared to New York City.

Here, 6,986 children attend charter schools, compared to 31,590 in the Buffalo Public Schools, according to the report. (Buffalo ranks 15th nationally, tied with five other cities, including Tucson and Minneapolis.)

Albany, by the way, enrolls 23 percent of its students in charter schools -- the highest percentage of any city in the state.

Nationally, the city with the highest charter enrollment is New Orleans, where 70 percent of students attend charter schools.

No. 2 is Washington, D.C., at 39 percent, followed by Detroit, at 37 percent, and Kansas City, MO, at 35 percent.

- Mary Pasciak

comments powered by Disqus

About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |